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Atlântidigital'ART, London November 2004 - photo by MANUEL PÉREZ


There has been much open discussion in politics about the need for investment in scientific research and technological innovation. The impact of this latter field-previously ignored- can be observed in our everyday life : mobile phones, GPS systems and more. It is a fact that information technologies have changed our lives radically, to the extent of almost dominating it since the appearance of the personal computers, digital cameras, video cameras, and various gadgets that we collect in the home. Similarly, but with its inherent anticipation, art has been collecting these technologies. We can go back as far as the 1950s, when Ben Laposky used an oscilloscope to generate the first wave forms to be considered artistic; the author himself named them Electronic Abstractions. But we have to wait until 1965, when the first exhibition of cybernetic art was held in the Technische Hochschule of Stuttgart and later in the same year in the Howard Wise Gallery de New York.

Since that moment, the digital arts should be considered part of the History of Arts, and nowadays are accepted as such, even among our politicians. This is apparent in the creation of the Interregional Programm III B with the aim to integrate the ultra-peripheral regions of the EU, in this case particularly the Macaronesia islands (Açores Islands, Madeira, Canarias y Cabo Verde). Part of this programm is the Atlantic Project of Digital Arts, which started with the Atlântidigital'ART, an international congress of Digital Arts, that took place in Ponta Delgada, capital of the Azorian island of São Miguel. This project enjoys the collaborations of various institutions of the Canary and Azores Islands, like the Instituto Açoriano de Cultura, la Universidade da Madeira, the Cabildo of Lanzarote, the Cabildo de Gran Canaria, Dirección General de Patrimonio Histórico del Gobierno de las Islas Canarias, and recieves funds of about two million Euros for two years adminstration. The main aims are the development of workshops which promote the different digital arts among the Macaronesian artists with the final aim of exhibition in collective exhibitions on the different islands. Furtermore, an artist contest will be held and an exhibition - unfortunately called Digital Gallery - is on the collaboration of both artists and institutions. This is a crucial fact of the project, because of the important financial investement and the fact that it is a physical as well as a virtual place.

There are also plans to create a medioteque to collect the works in DVDs and CDs, and for the conversion of the 'old' formats (VHS, dias, photos...)to integrate them into the canon of contemporary art. This project ends up with the creation of the Creators and Interpreters Centre of Macaronesia, which will be a stable institution thanks to the above mentioned important investment. The aim of this centre is the interchange between artists - with short-term scholarships-, which is the only way of understanding what is all about. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (Spain) in the Centro de la Cultura of Ciudad Alta is going to be one of the seats, under the patronage of the Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno (CAAM)- an important centre of Spanish art interested in the exploiting its position between Europe, Africa and America.

Text: Nilo Casares
Translation: Maria Caballos

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